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State of the Nation speeches ready to roll

February 3, 2008

State of the Nation speeches ready to roll

Maori and non-Maori speakers will be reflecting on the current state of the Treaty relationship, to commemorate the 168th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi on Wednesday.

They have been invited to offer insights on events of the past year, and their hopes for the future, at a public forum at Forum North in Whangarei at 7pm on February 5, and at Waitangi at 9am the next day (marquee, campground at Te Tii Marae).

The events are jointly organised by hosts Te Taumata Kaumatua o Ngapuhi, and Treaty education group Network Waitangi Whangarei.

The tauiwi speakers are journalist Carol Archie, East Coast community worker Ruth Gerzon, Treaty issues lawyer Grant Powell, and business commentator Rod Oram.

Network Waitangi Whangarei spokeswoman Joan Cook said, “We hope the forum will be a time for us to reflect on the past year’s events which are shaping the Treaty relationship, and to offer different perspectives on the challenges and joys of what could one day be a real dialogue between the parties to the Treaty.”

They have been invited to speak on the relationship as it has evolved over time, and provide ideas for the way forward as a nation, “looking at our country’s history with an eye to what the future may hold”.

The event is supported by the Commemorating Waitangi Day Fund. The Rev Cook said the forum reflected the fund’s purpose of creating chances “to contemplate the full meaning of the concept of partnership within one nation, two partners, and many cultures”.


Note: The texts of the speeches will be posted on www.trc.org.nz

About the speakers:

Carol Archie

Carol Archie is a journalist and author who has spent more than thirty years exploring Maori/Pakeha relationships. Most of her earlier career was in television news where she had the opportunity to meet many influential Maori figures through the seventies and eighties and to report on key Maori issues of the time. In 1991 she began working for Mana Maori Media which provided news for iwi radio stations and national radio about Maori people and their viewpoints. She’s written three books. Maori Sovereignty - the Pakeha Perspective was published in 1995. Skin to Skin, which explores the experiences of Maori and Pakeha in cross cultural families, was published in 1995 and adapted for broadcast on radio last year. Her latest book Pou Korero - a journalists' guide to Maori and current affairs - is a text book to help new reporters to work in this field.


Ruth Gerzon

A Pakeha community worker and adult educator from the Eastern Bay of Plenty, Ruth Gerzon is passionate about social justice and social change. She co-facilitates Treaty workshops and has a long involvement in groups searching for ways to make people in power accountable. On October 15, 2007, she unexpectedly gained a new role as 'mother of an alleged terrorist' and is just beginning to explore the implications of that day in our history.


Grant Powell

Since 1992 Grant has specialised in Treaty of Waitangi claims and Maori issues litigation. He has acted for claimants through all stages of the Treaty claims and settlement process including the preparation and presentation of claims before the Waitangi Tribunal, working with claimants to resolve mandating cross-claim issues, negotiating with the Crown and local government to resolve claim issues and actively working to promote education on Treaty of Waitangi and Maori issues.

As well as Treaty claims Grant has had a wide background in civil litigation, particularly in relation to Maori issues and the interpretation of Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993. Key cases include the Marlborough Sounds foreshore and seabed case from its inception in 1996, cases testing the Maori protection provisions contained in the State-Owned Enterprises Act 1986 and Resource Management Act 1991 and a test case on partition provisions in Te Ture Whenua Maori. Grant is currently providing advice and representation to a number of groups on Territorial Customary rights orders and Customary rights orders available under the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004.

Grant is also frequently involved in the legislative reform process through the preparation and delivery of submissions to Select Committees on proposed legislation affecting Maori, including the Foreshore and Seabed, Supreme Court and Local Government Bills.


Rod Oram

Rod has been an international business journalist for more than 30 years. After growing up in England and then studying in the US, Rod began his journalism career in Canada. He has worked in North America, Europe and Asia for leading business newspapers such as the Financial Times of London where he was a writer and editor for 18 years.

Rod and his family emigrated to New Zealand in 1997. He was editor of the Business Herald section of the New Zealand Herald from 1997 to 2000. Since then Rod has developed a wide range of journalism interests. His regular commitments today are as a columnist for the Sunday Star-Times, a radio broadcaster, an adjunct professor at Unitec and a frequent public speaker. Penguin published his first book last year: Reinventing Paradise: How New Zealand is starting to earn a bigger, sustainable living in the world economy.

His talk will cover:
The Maori economy has grown well over the past decade or more, as a recent study by Te Puni Kokiri has demonstrated. This has enabled Maori businesses and whanau and iwi enterprises to increase the roles they are playing in the wider New Zealand economy. These are often very distinctive contributions in areas such as tourism, film and other branches of the arts, media and consumer products that help define New Zealand on the world stage.

Like the rest of the country, though, the Maori economy faces many daunting challenges ahead as we all seek to earn a bigger, more sustainable living in the local and global economy. And some of these challenges are bigger for Maori than others in New Zealand. For example, agriculture, fisheries and forestry make up a bigger share of the Maori economy than the wider one. Therefore, issues such as sustainability of fish stocks, the impact of climate change and increased competition from new farmers overseas will have a bigger impact proportionately on Maori than on other New Zealanders.

ENDS


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